Congratulations to Dr Carin Combrink, senior lecturer at the Department of Architecture, on the receipt of the University of Pretoria’s Community Engagement Award on 21 May 2019.
Dr Carin Combrinck is a senior lecturer in the Department of Architecture in the faculty of Engineering, Built Environment and Information Technology. She is the director of the Honours programme as well as the Unit for Urban Citizenship. The mission of the Unit is to establish an interdisciplinary network of collaboration towards horizontal integration of interfaculty engagement with specific stakeholders, as well as vertical alignment of curricular engagement to embed a culture of participation in graduates.
Dr Combrinck’s field of research is rooted in the role of architecture in community development, with an interdisciplinary view towards social innovation and urban citizenship. Engagement with stakeholders ranging from informal settlement leadership structures to City Improvement Districts has shaped her approach since 2010, becoming inclusive of curricular engagement, participatory research as well as social impact.
At present, she consults to the City of Tshwane Safety Promotion through Urban Upgrading programme, serves on the Hatfield Precinct Plan Advisory Committee, the newly formed Mamelodi Community Learning Collaborative, the Department of Higher Education University Staff Doctoral Programme in Community Development, as well as the Moreleta Development Forum. In all of these capacities, the role of the university as embedded social actor is promoted and supported through a scholarship of engagement.
The Mamelodi Collaborative is a formal undertaking between the UP Mamelodi Campus and Rutgers University, Newark in the USA. Dr Combrinck’s research contributions to this endeavour are focused on the educational ecosystem, with a specific view to the spatial conditions required for safe and secure neighbourhoods. To this end, the current cohort of Honours students is engaged with Tsako Thabo High School, one of the participants of the Mamelodi Collaborative. Further to the consideration of the University’s seminal role in the Mamelodi area, work undertaken by Master’s students under Dr Combrinck’s supervision has been focused on investigating and furthering the spatial implications of the UP Mamelodi Campus Anchor Strategy.
In collaboration with the UP Mamelodi Campus After School Programme, a recently completed professional Master’s thesis under Dr Combrinck’s supervision investigated the participation with high school learners through multiple workshops as part of a co-design process, integrating the voice of the end-user into the development of architectural design outcomes.
Through her Honours studios and in collaboration with the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences and the Department of Family Medicine, engagement with a network of Early Childhood Development Centres in the Mamelodi East area was undertaken, leading to several small scale interventions and further research by the Department of Speech Language Pathology and Audiology.
Funded research by the NRF and the Swedish research foundation (STINT) consists of collaboration with the Department of Geo-Informatics at UP and the Architecture department at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden. The project aims to develop a platform for the sharing of micro geo-spatial data that is captured as part of the Honours studios at both institutions.
The most significant achievements received over the past three years include the Robert Gustav Schmikl award for best progress in post-graduate research and the Neill Powell Neill award for best completed post-graduate research degree in the Department of Architecture.